How can we help students to become engaged and independent learners? Ritchhart, Church and Morrison contend we can help them by Making Thinking Visible.
Students develop understanding, engagement and independence when they are taught well but what does teaching well look like. We, the teachers, can first think about the work which students are doing in our classrooms. What kinds of actions do the students in our classes spend most of their time doing? Now think about the actions which are authentic to the discipline of study which the students are engaged in, that is, what writers, artists, or scientists, for instance, actually do when they are engaged in their work. Comparing the actions your students are doing to the actions authentic practitioners do will help you determine whether students are learning about the subject or doing the subject. This is a key aspect in creating good learning environments with engaged and independent learners.
Some ways of thinking are helpful across subjects and disciplines. Ritchhart et al, give a list of eight ways of thinking which are important to develop for independent learners:
1) Observe and describe
2) Explain and interpret
3) Reason using evidence
4) Make connections
5) Consider a variety of viewpoints or perspectives
6) Find the main idea and form conclusions
7) Ask questions and wonder
8) Get below the surface
This list reminds me of the main strategies for reading comprehension which have been a focus of mountains of PD in the past few years.
(Find the main idea, synthesize, infer, connect, conclude, question). Good thinking and good thinking about reading are not different. Cool.
author: Gail Boushey
average rating: 4.33
book published: 2009
date added: 2013/09/07
Practical advice, strategies and forms for running a good quality student-driven reading program.
via Susan’s bookshelf: all http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/713931511?utm_medium=api&utm_source=rss
author: Will Ferguson
average rating: 3.66
book published: 2012
date added: 2013/09/07
A book to make you really think about the oil and gas industry and the nature of thievery.
via Susan’s bookshelf: all http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/713930669?utm_medium=api&utm_source=rss
I’ve started a new job and it has ups and downs in the adjustment from one role to another. I’m moving from the job of teacher librarian to the job of technology consultant. Some days I’m really excited and others I’m exceedingly nervous. Some days I’m confident and others I’m completely overwhelmed. Today I had two interactions which really made me delighted to be taking on my new role. I was strolling the hallways of our central office building and had brief conversations with two people ‘above’ me in the hierarchy. One has a closer supervisory capacity of my job and the other has a more arms-length role. Both of them were warm and supportive. It felt so good to be affirmed as a person regardless of my capacity and output. I am relieved to know and to see the humanity of the ‘powers that be’ within my organization. It made me say, “I have a fantastic work place and can’t wait to get started”.
It’s going to be a good year.
author: Thomas R. Guskey
average rating: 3.83
book published: 1999
date added: 2013/08/24
A research heavy book on professional development evaluation. I found myself nodding off while reading it. The information is good and the techniques and tools described will be helpful. Certainly something I will be referring to throughout the coming year. The five levels of evaluation breakdown is particularly helpful – level one – participant reaction, level two – participant learning, level three – organizational support and change, level four – use of knowledge and skills and level five – student learning. It was important for me to look at and reflect on the multitude of ways in which leaders need to evaluate their work. As a participant in PD, I have often only thought about my learning and skill and how it connected to my students. I would occasionally notice barriers to my learning within organization or supports for my learning in the organization but they were not my main concern. I would notice when professional development missed my zone of proximal development by being either too hard or too easy. I gave feedback when requested and occasionally just because I had an opinion. It is interesting to be transitioning to this new space as an instructional leader and to be faced directly with the need to accommodate teachers and evaluate whether or not the work I do with them makes a difference in the place it needs to – with students.
via Susan’s bookshelf: all http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/702729487?utm_medium=api&utm_source=rss
author: Michael James (Jim) Knight
average rating: 4.39
book published: 2010
date added: 2013/08/24
A good guide for educator leaders planning for teacher professional development. The organization of the book suits the audience as principals, coaches, instructional leaders can read the chapters which are specific to their role and the ways they can have the greatest impact on instructional improvement. Some take-aways – school instructional improvement plans should be no longer than one page and contain goals on planning for content, assessment, instructional strategies and community. I thought the instructional strategies were a little old school and lacked specificity but the book is about planning for instructional improvement and less about the things to change in the instruction. I know I will be referring back to the coaching section and the planning for workshops sections throughout this year.
via Susan’s bookshelf: all http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/702723676?utm_medium=api&utm_source=rss